Media Ethics Doesn’t Have to Be an Oxymoron

Media Ethics Doesn’t Have to Be an Oxymoron

Hear a discussion on ethics at the Sept. 21 ASBPE Houston meeting.

Editorial ethics made global headlines with the Murdoch newspaper scandals. While we as editors, writers, freelancers or PR professionals aren’t involved in phone hacking and illegal break-ins, we face situations in the workplace that can test our ethics and moral integrity – from within the company and from advertisers.

The program will be presented by attorney Don E. Tomlinson, who will discuss:

  • What is ethics … is it the same as morality?
  • Living in a world with citizen bloggers who don’t follow editorial rules.
  • What is moral thinking and how is it related to journalism?
  • Ways that editorial departments can raise awareness about media ethics.

A Q/A session will follow the presentation.

About the Presenter

Tomlinson has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and was a television reporter and then Associated Press writer in Little Rock, Ark., before entering law school in the mid 1970s. After receiving his J.D., he practiced law for eight years (part of that time including media law and entertainment law) and then joined the journalism faculty at Texas A&M University where he taught media law and media ethics for nearly 20 years (practicing media law and entertainment law during that time, as well). In 2005, he moved to Houston to become a clinical professor of law at UHLC. In 2008, he entered full-time law practice once more, concentrating in media law, entertainment law and intellectual property matters.

Meeting Details

Date: Wednesday, September 21

Time: 6:00 Networking begins, the presentation starts at 6:30 p.m.


The Museum of Printing History
1324 West Clay (near Waugh)
Map and transportation information.

To RSVP or for information, call or e-mail either:


  • Professionals: $15
  • Young Professionals Under 30: $10
  • Students: $5

Light snacks will be served.

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Previous Events

An Evening with Houston Chronicle Staffers: Tom Fowler, energy business reporter with The Houston Chronicle and, and Jill Cohan, web producer for The Houston Chronicle/ discussed print vs. digital, blogs, editorial workflow and more.

Tools of the (Digital) Trade: Speaker Michael Hobley explained how to use the digital tools available to help connect with readers. Michael covered blogging, content management systems and other trends made possible in a digital world. Michael is web developer for Rigzone and director of interactive media for Pride-Houston.

Writing for the Web: How to optimize content for visitors and search engines.
Speakers: Charles (Chuck) Wilson, editor,Bulk Transporter, and treasurer, ASBPE Houston; Phaedra Friend, editor in chief, Rigzone, and current Houston chapter president

Attendees learned how to can engage more readers online — including:

  • How web differs from print and the F-shaped reading pattern
  • How to include more hyperlinks and related story links
  • How to write effective online titles, decks, subheads and teasers
  • How blogs can increase your web traffic
  • Effective use of social media

Learn How to Market Yourself Online
Speaker: Gavin Fridlund, in-house IT and web developer for Houston Publications

This presentation showed editors, writers, freelancers and others in the publishing community how to establish an online presence to market themselves continually — not just when they’re job searching. There was a demonstration of free, downloadable and easy-to-implement software, including Blogger. Guests learned how to upload images and text on a personal site to provide prospective employers with work samples.

Photo: Aimee Roundtree and Michael Hobley
Speakers Aimee Kendall Roundtree and Michael Hobley discussed Web usability and inexpensive ways to track use of online content at the August 26 meeting.

Web Usability and
Tracking Use of Online Content
With University of Houston professor Aimee Kendall Roundtree and web analyst Michael Hobley of

Attendees learned about web site usability, accessibility, and ways to track content on the cheap.


Adapting Your Editorial Skills to Content Management
with speaker Marlowe Wakeman, manager of the Information Development Group at software company BBS Technologies.

Attendees learned skills to help them remain valuable in both the print and digital worlds, prepared for possible workplace changes toward greater use of content management systems, and became familiar with Webmaster terms and jargon.

Communicating in Plain English
with speaker Shawn Harris, M.S., Professional Writing & Technical Communication.

Attendees learned how to write copy that’s clearly understandable on first reading, even if it is technical in nature. They also learned about information design, including use of headings, typography, and smaller paragraphs.

Editing and Grammar Workshop
with speaker Kelli Meyer, co-owner of Total Body magazine, a monthly Houston health and wellness publication

Recognizing the Pitfalls and Consequences of Plagiarism
with speakers: David McHam, professor of journalism at the University of Houston and Phillip E. Page, professor at South Texas College of Law

The ABCs of Good Magazine Photography, Parts I & II
with speakers Chuck Wilson, Bulk Transporter and Chuck Wilson Photography and Mark Hiebert, Houston Apartment Assoc. and Hiebert Photography

Chapter Newsletter

Download copies of the Houston chapter newsletter here.

August 2005 issue (1.7MB PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Editors + Freelancers = Symbiotic Relationship
    Editors and freelancers may not always see eye to eye, but the August ASBPE meeting shed some light on ways to make the relationship pleasant and professional.
  • Merging Titles Need Not Be Revolting
    Consultant and technical director for E&P magazine Dick Ghiselin addresses the Houston ASBPE chapter about the three keys to success for business publications.
  • Legally Honored
    John Gibeaut’s ABA Journal stories rate American Society of Business Publication Editors’ Stephen Barr Award.
  • Launching Iraqi Business Pubs
    Iraqi Ministry of Trade Abdul Hadi K. Abid addresses challenges of trade publications after the war.
  • Re-energizing a Magazine for Magazines
    Folio: publisher and editor details successful magazine relaunch at ASBPE National Editorial Conference in Cleveland.
  • National Conference Attendees Learn about Logic, Rhetoric
    The 2005 ASBPE National Editorial Conference featured a crash course in critical thinking.

February 2005 issue (1.1MB PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Sales and Editorial Can Play Nicely
    Three panelists will discuss how these departments can collaborate to produce a publication that will satisfy advertisers as well as readers.
  • Audience Travels Back in Time
    Ann Jennings began her talk during the ASBPE Houston chapter’s October meeting by inviting audience members back to the year 1995.]
  • Local Trade Pubs Perform Difficult Balancing Act
    Business journal writer discusses the challenges of reporting in local environment.
  • Are Interest Groups Blurring the Media Line?
    D.C. ASBPE co-hosts event examining ethical considerations arising from growth of interest-group media.

October 2004 issue (2 MB PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Tact Essential for Dealing with Experts
    Although technical editors must know how to make complex ideas accessible to the reader, they also need to practice good people skills with the subject matter experts with whom they work.
  • The Tufte World of Design
    Getting effective design lessons from the one who wrote the book.
  • Writing for Trade Magazines
    The rules for trade magazine writing are different than those for consumer writing – being confident in their understanding is key.

August 2004 issue (2MB PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Editing by Design Kicks off Annual Conference
    Consultant and Editing by Design author Jan White discusses challenges and solutions in striving to help the reader get the most from a publication.
  • Magazine of the Year Winners Share Secrets
    Making the most of a small staff, high-quality photos, good headlines, graphical features, planning, packaging, and communication were key for ASBPE national competition winners.

April 2004 issue (144K PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Media Scandals, Challenge of Objectivity
    A report on the Houston Bar Association’s annual Law & Media Seminar.
  • Consistency Key for Graphic Design
    Advice on this and other issues from local Houston graphics experts.

February 2004 issue (224K PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Entering Awards Competitions Not So Scary
  • Business, Financial Reporting for Editors, Writers

November 2003 issue (140K PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Wall Street Journal Reporters Rebecca Smith and John R. Emshwiller on Breaking the Enron Scandal
  • The Other Side of Contests

August 2003—First issue (212K PDF)

Includes these articles:

  • Supplementing Advertising Dollars
  • Spending a Day with Graphics Expert Edward Tufte

Chapter Meeting Recap:

State of the Publishing Industry 2003
At chapter event, editors got advice on how to weather the economic climate.

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